Leaked Bluegrass Poll results show Grimes up 2 percent as online national survey has McConnell leading by 4

10/06/2014 11:23 AM

UPDATED: The day of the latest Bluegrass Poll’s release, an apparently premature posting by pollster SurveyUSA showing Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes ahead of Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell by 2 percent.

The link , first reported on Twitter by Insider Louisville’s Joe Sonka, has Grimes ahead of McConnell 46 percent to 44 percent among 632 likely voters with a 4 percent margin of error.

Liberterian candidate has 3 percent support with 7 percent of respondents undecided, according to the poll results.

Regardless of the poll’s result, McConnell’s camp remains bullish about the Senate minority leader’s chances Nov. 4.

“After fourteen straight public polls all showing Sen. McConnell with a clear lead, this Bluegrass Poll is obviously an outlier. We’re very comfortable with where this race stands and are confident Sen. McConnell will be re-elected in November,” McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore said in a statement.

Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst said the poll results show “the overwhelming grassroots enthusiasm Alison and our campaign see everyday.”

“Throughout this campaign, Mitch McConnell has attempted to convince the Washington cocktail circuit and other pundits that this race is not close,” Hurst said in a statement. “However, today, Kentuckians made their voice heard: they are ready for a new Senator who will put the people of Kentucky first — not one who cares more about his own self-promotion. Last week, our internals from pollster Mark Mellman showed Alison leading Mitch McConnell by the exact same margin, because Kentuckians continue to rally around her forward-looking vision to create jobs.”

The SurveyUSA results show McConnell’s support slipping from 46 percent in an Aug. 28 Bluegrass Poll, when the 30-year incumbent led Grimes by 4 percent with a 4.2 percent margin of error. The latest Bluegrass Poll, set for a 6 p.m. Monday release and conducted for The Courier-Journal, Lexington Herald-Leader, WHAS-TV and WKYT-TV, is a rarity among recent independent polling, which has shown McConnell with a small but consistent lead.

The poll shows McConnell trailing Grimes in favorability, with 48 percent of 730 registered voters disapproving of McConnell versus 39 percent not favoring Grimes, according to the Bluegrass Poll Bluegrass Poll cross tabs on the Herald-Leader’s website. Grimes still trails McConnell considerably among respondents in western and eastern portions of the state, with 15 percent and 11 percent more supporting McConnell’s candidacy.

President Barack Obama, whose unfavorables surpass McConnell’s among poll respondents at 55 percent, has been a punching bag for McConnell on the campaign trail, and the message seems to have stuck with many Kentucky voters. When asked whether Grimes would simply vote in lockstep with Obama’s agenda, 49 percent of respondents agreed.

McConnell has some reason to worry as well. Even though 47 percent of poll respondents favored GOP control of the U.S. Senate versus 42 percent for Democrats, 57 percent said McConnell has been in office too long and should be replaced.

Another poll, an online survey conducted by the New York Times, CBS News and YouGov released Sunday, shows McConnell ahead of Grimes by as much as 6 percent.

The poll, conducted Sept. 20 through Wednesday, shows 44 percent of the 1,689 respondents favoring McConnell over Grimes, who drew 40 percent support. McConnell’s lead expands to 6 percent when adding the 2 percent of respondents who are leaning toward the 30-year incumbent versus the 1 percent who lean toward Grimes.

The online survey, part of a nationwide effort to track congressional races and national attitudes of more than 100,000 respondents, has a 3 percent margin of error in Kentucky, with 9 percent of respondents undecided. Libertarian candidate David Patterson drew 2 percent support.

Combined, the YouGov survey predicts a GOP pickup of six seats in the midterm elections, which would give Republicans a majority in the chamber.

From CBS News:

In all, our full simulation of what would most likely happen if the election were held today still has the GOP taking the Senate at 51-49, but the simulation suggests that no one should be surprised if they got to 52 or 53 seats, nor is a Democratic hold outside a realistic chance.

If Republicans get the pickups that loom at the moment in Alaska and Arkansas, they’d still need to win Iowa or break 50 percent in Louisiana to take the Senate, or else take North Carolina where they now trail. And another wrinkle: Alaska counts its votes late into the night on election night, or over the following days, so it’s also possible we’ll wait to know a winner for a while.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.


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